Learning to Think

No Island Is an Archipelago

In order to be successful, you must have an effective support network. While we all want to be heroes and to do everything ourselves, it is just not practical. There are many different kinds of support that we may need to call up at any point in time.

Life Support

There are many things that we just can not do without in life. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need tells us that we need things like food and water, but it also reminds us that things like intimacy, respect, and self-actualization are important. Without the support of our friends, neighbors, and communities we are nothing. Our families are absolutely critical for success.

Moral Support

Emotional and psychological backing is important. You need to surround yourself with people who believe in you, but also people who you trust to keep you honest with yourself. When you lose a little bit of faith, there is nothing like a friend to pick you up, dust you off, and kick you in the butt to get moving again.

Technical Support

Specific problems call for specific solutions. When you have a problem, you can go to an organization designed to give you domain specific support. The Genius Bar at an Apple Store, a customer service representative at your bank, or a poison control center can all bring a quick solution and instant expertise to help you sort out a problem. Not all support resources are free, but some are well worth paying for.

Structural Support

I am a big fan of automating as much of a business as possible. I believe that businesses should focus on their core competency and not be distracted by things like accounting and HR. These things are critical to running a successful business, but they are also easily handled by resources outside your nuclear core of productivity. If you need to do something in-house, by all means do it, but I bet you don’t for most things. Outsource (or automate internally) redundant/commodity tasks.

Peer Support

No matter how unique your ideas may be or how much of a genius you think you are, you are probably not the only person with your idea or something very similar to it. The power in most ideas and inventions is not in the individual idea, but how it relates to things that already exist or what does it may open to future opportunities. There are many people around you to bounce ideas off of, to ask for help, to offer help to, to partner with, to compete against, to build a community with. Ideas are much more powerful when they are combined with the collective wisdom and resources of your peers.

No man is an island, and no island is an archipelago. We all have a massive amount of support and structure that we lean and build from every day.